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Common questions about Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law

Common questions about Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law

By Stacey Neumann, Esq.

The Maine Department of Labor issued new regulations this week for Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law that goes into effect on January 1, 2021. Here are some of the common questions you might have as an employer or employee.

Am I eligible for the paid leave benefit?

If you are an employee (including full-time, part-time, temporary, or per diem) of an employer who has more than 10 employees in Maine (across all business locations) and you are not under a collective bargaining agreement as of 1/1/2021, you may be eligible for this benefit.

How do I earn the paid leave benefit?

All Employees–regardless of part-time, full-time or salaried status–accrue 1 hour of earned paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours in a defined year.

What can I use my paid leave for?

Employees can use their paid leave for any reason of their choosing. This might include planned vacation time, illness, or emergencies.

What happens if I don’t use my earned paid leave within the defined year period?

Employees can use up to 40 hours of paid leave in a defined year, and can carry over up to 40 hours to the next year if it hasn’t been used.

Do I lose my earned paid leave if I leave my job?

If your employer does not have an unpaid vacation policy in place, you may lose it. However, if you are not compensated for any unused earned paid leave and you return to your job within a year, your employer will be required to make it available to you.

As an employer, how can I prevent absences from multiple employees at one time?

You can require employees to give up to 4 weeks advance notice to use earned paid leave for any reason other than an emergency, illness, or sudden necessity. You may identify certain time frames where vacation may be limited, such as during holiday or busy seasons.

How soon can employees begin using earned paid leave?

Employers may choose to apply a 120-day wait period before new employees can use their accrued paid leave.

What do I have to do as an employer to ensure my workplace complies with Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law?

All workplaces are required to post the Regulation of Employment Poster.

Can my employees use less than one hour increments of paid leave at a time?

As an employer, you can require the use of earned paid leave be in one hour increments.

More details and answers to more questions can be found on the Department of Labor website.